There is a profound shift underway in our cultural story, sense of purpose and organisational logic. Deep and complex influences within our own psyche, our collective consciousness and in the structures pervading organisations are being challenged to radically reshape; at its heart this paradigm shift challenges the very way we view the world and ourselves as embodied within it. It has the potential to change everything, and can be summarised as a shift from separateness to sacredness.
The indigenous elders of Peru explain the complete cycle of humanity as going through three movements: time of creation, time of conservation, time of renewal. The big change happens in the time of renewal which the wise elders say is upon us now. Fundamental to this is a radical change in perception – a shift in conscious awareness – which affects how we attend to life, how we be, do and become. This time of renewal we find ourselves in can be very upsetting and painful while also profoundly liberating as we free ourselves from old mental constructs, regulations and habits that keep us imprisoned in the status quo.
‘I used to think that top environmental problems were biodiversity loss, ecosystem collapse and climate change. I thought that thirty years of good science could address these problems. I was wrong. The top environmental problems are selfishness, greed and apathy, and to deal with these we need a cultural and spiritual transformation.’ —Gus Speth, U.S. Advisor on climate change
This time of renewal is the time to allow new springs of civilisation to flow. Yet the threshold from death of old ways to reconfiguration and renewal can seem like a scary chasm especially when we are all too engrossed in frantically patching up the current way of doing things to meet the ever-rising bills and debts. There is inherent inertia in crossing the threshold. Our feelings of security in the known and sense of safety in numbers by staying in the herd keep us fearfully clinging to old ways.
It is easy to become inured and institutionalised by the status quo and hard to break through beyond. And so the biggest challenge facing humanity is not climate change, consumerism or capitalism but our own ingrained mind-sets, behaviours and beliefs and our ability to overcome them. The future depends not on techno-fixes but on our ability as leaders, change agents, employers, employees, neighbours, families and friends to become aware of our true nature and sense of purpose in this world, in other words, to become deeply aware of who we are and what we are here for.
‘The new systemic understanding of life that has been developed at the forefront of science comprises biological, cognative, social and ecological dimensions. It applies to all living systems – individual organisms, social systems and ecosystems. Hence, it is relevant to virtually all professions and endevours.’ – Fritjof Capra
As the Chinese Zen master Huai-Chin Nan insightful said, ‘there’s only one issue in the world. It’s the reintegration of mind and matter.’ Upon our re-membering the sacred sentience of life and the consciousness (or mind) flowing through everything and every moment, we perceive the world afresh with an ecological awareness. This awareness is not simply an intellectual comprehension of our holistic inter-relatedness but a lived experience and daily embodiment of this inter-relatedness; an awareness that pervades how we relate. This is to wake up to our true nature as conscious beings actively participating within a conscious, co-creative world. It is an awareness that is before our very noses, so close that it is like looking for our glasses, not seeing they are right on our face.
We are living through a supreme moment of our evolution of consciousness. The old worldview has had its day. This was a worldview of organisations, societies and individuals perceived as competitive self-maximising units embroiled in an evolutional process of selfish ascendency where we either dominate or become dominated. The emerging worldview perceives a deeper inter-relatedness beyond the narrowing down lens of our alienating ego-consciousness (and left-brained reductionism) in opening up to an ecological consciousness (of head, heart and hand ‘bodymind’ awareness) which perceives the nature of our selves immersed within a sentient sea of entwined mind and matter.
It is our forgotten sense of the sacred sentience of life that underlies all our current crises. Deal with this and you deal with causes (materialism and anthropocentrism) and their downstream effects (social, environmental and economic degradation). And there are many people actively involved in helping this transformation in consciousness take root (for more on this see The Future of Business article on TriplePundit). This sacred vision and deeper way of relating is not some luxury add-on which can be dispensed with in times of economic strife, it is foundational to who we truly are; without it we become rudderless, tossed this way and that by inauthentic egotistic whims – distracted, dis-eased and deluded. Enter the contagion of consumerism in our midst.
The Paradigm Shift
Dominator > Participatory
Narcissistic > Empathic
Materialistic > Soulful
Ego as master > Ego as assistant
Patriarchy > Reciprocity
Separation > Inclusion
We can realise this sacred vision of the world through our joyful attunement of our body and environment. By letting-go of habituations and narrowing-down constrictions in our minds, we create space for a deeper awareness of life beyond the illusion of separation to radiate through us. After all, it’s our true nature and, when activated, it feels like a home-coming.
It is through our deepening awareness that we begin to realise the truth of the poet William Blake’s words, ‘everything that lives is holy’, and through our awareness of what is in this present moment of life we realise this holiness. This is our beginning. From here we can breathe into the new paradigm of reverence and respect, becoming all that we truly are in this enchanting and deeply wise world.
Giles Hutchins applies twenty years business experience to the emergence of new business logic inspired and in harmony with nature, for a short video see here.
The transformational times in our midst demand that organisations redesign for resilience in order to flourish in the volatile times ahead.
The most important challenge facing leaders, strategists and operational managers in these times is a shift in logic from the out-dated mind-set of mechanistic, reductive, quantised, atomised, silo’ed, command-and-control thinking to a logic inspired by and in harmony with Nature that allows us to thrive during uncertainty by opening up to emerging futures through co-creativity, networking and reciprocity. Nature’s patterns, processes and inherent grammar display a universal wisdom that we’d do well to attune to.
We now know that life is neither innately selfish nor driven by dog-eat-dog competition. Nature is a rich interplay of reciprocity, networking, cooperation and competition. The evolutionary diversification of life is a dynamic process of co-creative influence, over vastly differing scales from microcosm to macrocosm.Whether it be at the places, products, processes, people or purpose dimensions within an organisation, embracing Nature’s wisdom helps organisations flourish in these volatile times. Let’s take a brief look at these organisational dimensions:
Places: There is a shift afoot from viewing the place of work as a static estate to viewing it as a healthy, vibrant place that adapts and responds to human nature and wider Nature. A design partner of Interface, David Oakley notes, ‘shape-shifting times call for inspired spaces that enable us to be connected yet distinct, like colours in a rainbow. Spaces that reflect our ability to adapt and bend and flex to meet today’s constant changes ensure our ability to survive and thrive.’
Products: Product design inspired by Nature is no longer niche, with a plethora of products across all sectors applying bio-inspired design from high-speed trains and aeroplane wing tips to mobile phone displays and smart grid networks. As the late Steve Jobs said, ‘I think the biggest innovations of the 21st century will be at the intersection of biology and technology. A new era is beginning.’
Processes: Not only is the design process of products transforming, but also the product life-cycle from raw material to recycling and reuse. Industrial ecology and closed-loop economics are Nature-inspired approaches taken up by many leading sustainable businesses. What is also apparent is a shift afoot from product-orientation to service-orientation, where product-based approaches are being transformed into services, in-so-doing radically transforming the value-add provision and the stakeholder relationships from one-off to on-going. As Paul Hawken, Amory and Hunter Lovins noted a few years back, the shift to a service economy reverses ‘age-old assumptions about growth: an economy where we grow by using less and less, and become stronger by being leaner.’
People: People are perhaps the most complex part of an organisation. Business inspired by nature creates the conditions conducive to collaboration, adaptability, creativity, local attunement, multi-functionality and responsiveness; hence, enhancing the evolution of organisations from rigid, tightly managed hierarchies to dynamic living organisations that thrive and flourish within ever-changing business, socio-economic and environmental conditions. People are emancipated from top-down bureaucracy and KPI-obsessed management to co-create within emergent yet purposeful teams.
Purpose: While, on the surface, diverse, interconnected, emergent organisations may appear more chaotic and difficult to manage, they are vibrant places for people to become self-empowered – self-managing through mutual understanding of correct behaviours rooted in core values and clarity of purpose. It is this shared value set of core ethics that ensures self-empowered diversity naturally emerges towards delivering the value creation goals of the organisation, while maintaining flexibility, adaptability and sense of purpose.
True sustainability is being in harmony with Nature by learning to participate as co-creators in the immense beauty of life. The more we open ourselves up to our inner nature, our local neighbourhood and the wider world around us the more we attune with the wisdom in our midst. The diversity of our individuality is what makes for the richness and resilience of our collectivity. This communal, cultural and soulful wisdom is as relevant for politics, as it is for sustainable business, as it is for community regeneration.
In short, Nature’s inspiration can help us re-align minds, hearts and souls. It helps us remember that we are expressions within a deeper matrix of Nature. The bright future of business lies in its scientific, sensuous and soulful understanding of Nature’s wisdom beyond the confines of yesterday’s divisive logic of dog-eat-dog competition and anthropocentric separateness. As Aristotle, Einstein, Da Vinci, Confucius and many other profound minds knew, to be in harmony with Nature is to embody the wisdom within and all around us beyond reductive, mechanistic logic, whereupon our left and right brain hemisphere’s and head and heart cohere. This is when we Homo sapiens live up to our name of wise beings.
Here is a link to a short video of a talk Giles Hutchins gave in London recently.
The scientific materialism of modernity has castrated our comprehension of Nature by casting out its psyche and soul from our rational mind’s eye – the single vision and Newton’s sleep William Blake warned us of. In abstracting ‘things’ from their lived-in context, our narrowed-down materialistic perspective of the world de-natures Nature in to nothing more than a collection of objects to be manipulated by us for us. Materialism extracts spirit from Nature and in the process drains the life-blood from reality and our own sense of self within Nature so that we sever our connection with deeper Nature. As a result our individual psyches and collective psyche get out-of-kilter and dis-eased causing us profound suffering and anxiety which then fuels a lusting, wanting, owning, consuming mentality. To re-sacralise Nature in our mind’s eye is, therefore, the most fundamental of all actions for our present day activist to embark upon. It gets to the root of the mother of all problems and emancipates us from the imprisonment of our own making; with this re-sacralisation we breakthrough the walls of this illusion. Gone with the illusion is our carcinogenic way.
The dominant worldview of the world and universe as purposeless and devoid of consciousness is the same materialistic worldview that pervades our media, arts, philosophy, education, science and economics. It is a mechanistic logic that sets us apart from each other and Nature; it pits us against each other where Nature is viewed as a ‘war of all against all’. It creates a carcinogenic way of attending and an evolutionary path of selfish ascendency where the cancer sets about destroy its host and then winds up killing itself. It is not in the least wise. The founders of Western philosophy respected the innate wisdom of life beyond the confines of any illusory sense of separation, yet over time we have tended towards egotism and materialism, debasing ourselves and demeaning Nature.
Time is no longer on our side. It’s time for humanity to live up to its name of wise beings and recognise the insanity of our own mindset. It’s time to move beyond a self-absorbed and parasitic logic fuelling the rush hour of our insanity.
When do we find the space and time in our busy lives to ask the real questions about ‘why are we here’, ‘what is life’, ‘where do we go from here’, ‘what is true love’. How often in our daily escapades do we notice the immense awesome beauty of life?
As Ralph Waldo Emerson once said, what would we do if the stars only came out once every thousand years? No one would sleep that night, and we would get religious quick. Instead they come out every night and we watch TV. The whole way of thought and conduct within our Western way of life is being called into question as it is no longer fit for purpose for the times we find ourselves in. Out of the transformative fires ahead of us a phoenix of new consciousness will rise, a consciousness that will quicken us into listening, awakening, sensing and attuning with the sacred beauty and Truth of Nature’s wisdom within and all around us. This is what these transformational times demand of us – to activate the infinite potential of the seemingly super-natural, paranormal all-pervasiveness of Nature’s wisdom.
As Einstein remarked, today’s paranormal is tomorrow’s normal. To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here For a complete podcast series on this shift in paradigm see here bit.ly/1Gj31TL
Either first- or second-hand we know of the power of authentic small-group discussion. Yet how often do we give ourselves the space and time to allow for this in our hectic schedules.
In our relentless striving to do more we rush passed the treasure in our midst.
And so it was with a great sigh of relief that I spent a lovely morning with employees of Andrew Thornton’s Budgens honouring the simple sacredness of authentic small-group discussion in a time-honoured practice of Way of Council.
The ancient indigenous Way of Council allows for groups to open up to the wisdom of the heart through a communal atmosphere of sharing, non-judgement and acceptance. In Council, people sit in a circle and commit to being fully present; really listening to each other from the heart, free from distractions, judgements, opinion forming or preparation of response. And as a result of this humane discussion, empathy, honesty, commitment and trust form – qualities we all-too-seldom find in business these days, sadly.
By opening up to ourselves and others with loving kindness and attention, we allow the shadows within us all that isolate, alienate and degrade our sociality – such as preconceived judgements, projections and anxieties – to see the light of day.
At Friends House one bright, frosty winter’s morning I witnessed a dozen staff from Thornton’s Budgens transcend diverse cultural differences to find the commonality within humanity. This gives me hope for an increasingly challenging future ahead for us all.
Much business behaviour today, as well as our prevalent way of living, is corrupted by our general distracted and dis-eased attention. We find ourselves losing touch with our innate capacity to rest in our own natural awareness, to be sensitive to the subtle perturbations of the heart, and so to empathise and meaningfully relate.
The simple, yet profound activity of people coming together in a conscious and authentic way allows for a healing in the fractured busi-ness of today’s hedonic mania. It is in these sacred openings that we find our global yet local humanity; our differing tunes within the universal Dance of Life.
Simple activities of giving the other person our undivided attention as we listen deeply to them; listening without interruption; speaking without fear of interruption or judgement: How often do we practice these humane behaviours in today’s world?
And so what Andrew Thornton and Jim (the Store Manager) did that bright, frosty winter’s morning was to allow the light of hope to shine, and in-so-doing gaining a more committed, loyal, responsive team of employees. My wish is that Thornton’s Heart-In-Business programme reaches many more organisations, as for sure they will benefit in profound ways.
Giles Hutchins is a speaker, adviser and author on the new business paradigm inspired by and in harmony with Nature.
Having spent many years advising a variety of public, private and third sector organisations on business transformation and latterly sustainability, I embarked on a life transition directed by my love of Nature and the call of my heart.
Recently I was interviewed by www.conscious.tv about my life and my books, the interview can be watched here, and this article is a summary of some of the aspects of my life journey thus far. For as long as I can recall, I have been in love with Nature. My teenage years laid witness to my fury upon finding out the crimes we consciously and unconsciously commit against Nature, whether it be factory farming or widespread desecration to make way for anthropocentric ‘progress’. I have long recognised that such crimes inflict, and are inflicted by, inner psychological wounds at collective and personal levels.
As I grew older I was waking up to the realisation that our hubristic sense of domination over Nature was at the root of this widespread deep psychic suffering, leading to all sorts of downstream effects: fear, anxiety, depression, dis-ease, egotism, individualism, consumerism. A vicious cycle ensues of separateness, control, domination, degradation, violence, fear, suppression, more violence and more individualism. I was committed to finding out how the world works and why we humans seem to be destroying life rather than living in harmony within its immense awe-inspiring beauty.
For a variety of reasons, I found myself in business and vowed to understand how this ‘system’ worked. Many years at KPMG as a management consultant and then latterly as Global Director of Sustainability for Atos provided an excellent foundation in how business transformation, organisational management and leadership, capitalist value-creation and corporate life operate.
Yet by around 2006, I was struggling to hold-down my supressed views on how insane our worldview seems to me. I was struggling to find anything of value within the business worldview that adequately dealt with our anti-life approach, but met many inspirational people in business and beyond who also shared my love of life.
I signed up to some yoga classes mainly as a way to try and gain a balance from my hectic work-hard-play-hard life style. It was fortuitous that the nearest classes to me happened to be Tara Yoga, a small intimate class within a larger Tantra school which provided hand-outs to read after each class as well as discussions about consciousness and awareness in everyday life, meditation, breathing, colour therapy, mantras, etc. I purchased some yoga Nidra CDs that had a profound effect on me – essentially a lying down meditation where you focus on different parts of the body and then visualise things while the CD narrative guides you. Doing this after a yoga practice took me into deeper consciousness while still very much awake and so I could start to really sense and cognise what was going on in a lucid way. None of it felt strange, all of it made sense and it felt like coming home. It was as if I was always waiting for this and now my life was finally starting to open up to it all. Yet I saw no way of assimilating this into my busy corporate life.
I recall walking along a pier one day and having what could be called an epiphany or ‘glimpse’, when I sensed clearly that all I had to do was live life with love, yet my ego-awareness soon counter-acted this ‘non-sense’ with the sobering reality of every day competitive struggle.
Then came one too many David Attenborough programmes. I remember that Sunday evening well, when I cried aloud, tears streaming down my face, as I opened up to all the pain I had suppressed over the years at all we were doing to life. At that moment I vowed to begin and follow my inner calling, no more watching, the time had come to dive in with both feet and dedicate my life to ‘life’. I just began, putting one foot in front of the other, each and every day, starting to voice my feelings and begin the arduous task of allowing my inner and outer worlds to attune.
In the months ahead, I read avidly, mainly about sustainability, and met with many leading thinkers and organisations at the vanguard of sustainable business. In 2008 I set up a Sustainability offering for Atos UK and then in 2010 I became Global Head of Sustainability for Atos International – with 80,000 employees it was a large IT services provider and soon became the first global IT services organisation to achieve GRI A+ ranking. Around that time I co-founded Biomimicry for Creative Innovation, a collaborative of specialists applying ecological thinking for business transformation. I started to write articles for The Guardian on business inspired by Nature and was approached by a publisher to write a book – The Nature of Business.
I had another ‘peak experience’ (or ‘glimpse’ as for me it is a ‘thinning of the veil’ whereupon we see reality in its deeper, truer nature, which is always here, glimpsed when our ego-awareness permeates with a deeper natural, soulful, ecological awareness). I vividly sensed that the path ahead was simply living with love – everything to be done with complete truth and love, no inauthenticity, everything from the heart. Yet once again, within moments of this clear realisation, the ego-head recognition that I would not get very far in my work life with such an attitude snapped me out of it.
Soon after, I was in Amsterdam on business and had a vision of Jesus Christ, once again, my ego-fear kicked-in and also a lack of self-love as I felt ashamed to look directly at the vision, I felt neither ready nor worthy to look Jesus in the eyes as knew in my heart I had made only superficial ground, internally and externally, the deeper work was yet to come. Getting the global sustainability role was a big break for me as it enabled me to move out of London to Devon to be more immersed in Nature.
In Devon, my daily meditations and yoga were supplemented with sitting against trees I got to know intimately. I learnt a Druidic tree meditation and healing practice which I practiced daily with the trees. I also started writing short articles while sitting next to trees, blogs for my personal website and global networks such as GSB, CSRWire, TriplePundit, 2Degrees.
The biggest step for me was handing in my notice from corporate life in 2012 with no job to go to, just unchartered waters stretching out ahead. Well a slight fib – initially I had lined-up a fully funded PhD at Exeter University on Biomimicry for Business, which would give me a steady income, an office a business card and title – my safety blankets post corporate life. But I realised I was still going to feel imprisoned by the PhD and needed to go deeper in my thinking beyond mere extrapolations of Nature’s processes and patterns into a deeper Nature immersion of the wisdom that lies within and beyond these patterns and processes which, for me, alluded to a systemic paradigm shift in business and beyond.
Leaving corporate life and also declining a paid research position at Exeter Uni was all contrary to my conditioning of security, career, status, financial income, etc. and, while my earnings have been pathetic in comparison since, it is with no regrets. I gave myself the vital space and time to deepen my inner psychic connection to Nature and also to recover from years of shell-shocking global travel, stress, burning the candle at both ends, etc. I underwent something of a metamorphosis from 2012 to 2014, gradually healing while letting go of old mentalities, going through a ‘dark night of the soul’, embracing the unconscious depths of my imaginal realm and making friends once again with the stillness within and all around.
It was through my daily embracement of Nature that my imagination and childlike wonder returned to me. During this time, I embarked on my second book, The Illusion of Separation. Soon I started to feel more alive once again. Yet I have come to realise my metamorphosis is more like a continuous transformational process, spiralling twists and turns, not a one-off job. Synchronistically, my first book was published a fortnight before our first baby was born, and exactly the same happened for my second book and baby, allowing me to ensure smooth publication and then focus on being the birthing partner (both our children were natural water births at home for which I can take no credit, my wife did all the hard work, I just held the sacred space as best I could.)
Hazel’s conception (9 months before) I remember clearly, as I felt as if a deeper presence had opened up and an energetic spark entered – at the time I said to my wife that if this moment leads to conception it will be amazing as I actually felt the presence of something within a deeper imaginal realm. It was her conception. Things like this buoy my faith in the deeper reality beyond.
There is no longer any three year plan ahead of me like I always used to have; this part of my life is unmapped and I let go with faith and trust in the unfolding. My heart is my compass.
Perhaps the biggest catalysts in my life have been my relationships with my children and wife. It is the intimacy of my relations with my wife and kids that provides the greatest tests and opportunities for me to let go of constricting, narrowing-down perspectives based on control and fear while opening up to a deeper compassion for myself and others, and a deeper courage to reach beyond habituated patterns that hold me back from fully loving. This journey of the heart has asked me to face my inner demons on numerous occasions – sometimes daily. My busy mind often plagues me with thoughts that life would be far easier if I was ignorant of the pain and love I have for life or if I just followed the money. Yet, in truth, there is no real doubt that the path I am on is the only viable one.
Brief Bio – Giles Hutchins applies twenty years business experience to the emergence of a new paradigm. Formerly a management consultant for KPMG, more recently Global Sustainability Director for Atos International, co-founder of BCI: Biomimicry for Creative Innovation, ambassador for Embercombe, adviser for Akasha Innovation, he speaks and writes about the transformation to new ways of operating inspired by and in harmony with Nature.
His first book, The Nature of Business, received much praise on both sides of the Atlantic. His second book, The Illusion of Separation ( on Amazon and on Amazon.com ) is now out. Giles blogs at www.thenatureofbusiness.org, facebook community https://www.facebook.com/businessinspiredbynature and tweets @gileshutchins
The Illusion of Separation – Contrary to popular opinion, capitalist consumerism is not the problem. Rather, it is a downstream effect of a deeper malaise woven deep into our cultural psyche at partly unconscious levels. The source of our current social, economic and environmental ills springs from inherent flaws in how we perceive and construct the world we live in. The Illusion of Separation takes us on an exploration of the root causes of our multiple ills so that we can breakthrough into reality beyond illusion. Moving to a new society and a new consciousness inspired by and in harmony with Nature. Listen to the podcasts to learn more: http://bit.ly/1Gj31TL and see the infographic here: http://visual.ly/illusion-separation-infographic
Business strategist, Peter Senge, notes that our world today is shaped not by individuals alone but by networks of businesses and institutions, and that these organisations are currently grounded in an old logic which needs to radically shift for the times we now live in.
New horizons are created through new ways of thinking, perceiving and attending to ourselves, each other and wider life – it is up to the individuals within these organisations to co-create a new logic. This shift in logic is what Senge says is the biggest challenge facing organisational management and leadership today. Without this radical shift in thinking we will be unable to transform successfully towards a sustainable future; in other words, we will utterly fail in our evolution.
The logic of yesterday is of top-down, hierarchic, command-and-control, risk-adverse, competition-oriented, short-termed maximisation, control-based thinking best suited to the Industrial Age. It is a mechanistic worldview based on reductionist logic that fragments reality into abstract definitions, silo’s and objects to be quantified, measured, controlled and then maximised, while largely over-looking the interrelated, fluid, connective, collaborative, participatory nature of Nature.
In drawing inspiration from Nature, we may step beyond our narrowed-down view of life and re-cognise the intrinsic patterns and reciprocal relations in our midst. These patterns can often seem confusing or complex for our reductionist mind, yet for our intuitive logic they are quite natural to cohere with – we are, after all, part of Nature. Such patterns and flows are, by their nature, regenerative and sustainable. In applying this inherent logic of life, we no longer need to superficially bolt-on sustainability initiatives to unsustainable modus operandi. In going with the flow of Nature, we re-design for resilience, ensuing sustainability – in all sense of the word – is ingrained in how we operate and innovate.
For Senge, creative orientation is what facilitates our shift beyond yesterday’s flawed logic. Creative orientation helps us address our many practical problems as opportunities for transformation, rather than risks to be mitigated or problems to be worked-around. Real life challenges are what afford us the opportunities to transform to more resilient ways of operating. Through humility, openness and playfulness, creative orientation brings a radically different mind-set beyond the hyper-competitive, quantised linearity of old. It is a ‘learning-through-doing’ approach to prototyping by collaborating amongst diverse stakeholders. Here, future outcomes are beyond pre-definition: it is the co-learning journey rather than the pre-defined destination that brings transformative value to the organisation and wider ecosystem of partners involved; real benefits beyond ‘doing less bad’. This approach to business walks-its-own-talk by embracing a living, regenerative, empowering, co-creative, ecological way of being and doing which is aligned with our authentic human nature and deeper Nature.
This fresh (yet ancient) logic enables us to see the richness and value of interrelated business ecosystems, of intra-organisational learning, of diverse stakeholder empowerment, of emergent leadership, of open co-innovation. Linear approaches to supplier and customer management are liberated into vibrant values-led ecosystems which nourish, and are nourished by, their own co-creativity. Company ‘IP’ transforms into ‘ecosystem intelligence’ beyond the old methods of privatised control. This may be mind-boggling for today’s minds’ still rooted in yesterday’s logic and it is a radical shift in management and leadership for all aspects of the business whether it be sales and marketing, human resources or supplier and customer management. All change please. And Senge is quick to point out that many organisations are already engaging in ways of behaviour in what he calls ‘life beyond the Bubble’ – life beyond the confining control-based bureaucracies of yesterday. It is what I call living beyond the illusion of separation, because it is an attitude that perceives beyond the self-limiting logic of egotism and individualism.
Intrapreneurs, internal network leaders and community builders across the business of all backgrounds (whether engineering, sales, logistics, etc.) will serve as the catalysts in empowering locally attuned teams of diverse stakeholders to make regenerative business a reality. Hence, the search for such catalysts within the organisation as well as across the partner ecosystem, through new hires and external consultants is an important one. Often external consultants and specialist partners can help shine a light on areas of opportunity that people steeped in the cultural mind-set may need help in seeing. Business schools, activists, social innovators, think-tanks, consultants, change-makers can all help spawn such transformative creative orientations. Such networks will benefit from social media and collaboration technologies in helping co-innovate a bright future for business – the way Nature intended.
Giles Hutchins applies 20 years business experience to a new business logic inspired by and in harmony with Nature. His latest book The Illusion of Separation is now out and you can watch a short video about it here.
To explore ‘the new paradigm’ further, join the Face Book community here
We are now settling into 2015 – transformational times no less which quite naturally invoke a feeling of trepidation. Tectonic shifts in our socio-economic models, strategic and operational management and leadership development are metamorphosing our prevalent paradigm into something as different in look and feel as a butterfly is from a caterpillar.
In the early stages of a pupa’s metamorphosis, cells quite different from the caterpillar organise into groups. These ‘imaginal cells’ run up again the opposition of the old caterpillar’s immune system which perceives them as a threat to the caterpillar’s existence. Over time, as the system of the old caterpillar begins to breakdown, these new formations spawn forth the structures, processes and logic of the butterfly; ditto for the metamorphosis in our midst.
We know an era is ending and a new one being conceived when the fundamental assumptions and illusions of the old worldview are exhausted by their inability to deal with the challenges of the day. Yesterday’s logic understands Nature as purposeless, devoid of meaning and consciousness. This materialism creates an illusion of separation which underpins our cultural tendency towards short-termist profiteering, control-based silo’ed thinking, and divide-and-rule behaviour; what Gregory Bateson calls a paradigm for extinction. In short, we have become inured by a corrupting logic that undermines our very evolution.
The good news is that through recent discoveries in quantum science, depth psychology, neuroscience, facilitation ecology and many other fields of research, this out-dated logic is now breaking down, giving way to a fresh yet ancient logic inspired by Nature. Rather than viewing life as mechanistic with humans separate from and in competition with life, we are opening up to a deeper perspective of life as innately conscious, participatory and sacred. Yet, as economist Joseph Gustav Speth warns us, proposals for transforming our systemic logic will be derided and, when they gain traction, resisted at every turn, much like the imaginal cells in the early stages of metamorphosis.
Many of today’s organisational pioneers and cultural change agents go unnoticed, catalysing transformation by applying a deeper wisdom beyond illusion – compassion rather than competition, empathy rather than egotism, synchronicity rather than separateness, service rather than selfishness, reciprocity rather than robbery. And this is not new – business finds its origins in value-creation through service provision for its community. Likewise, the roots of Western philosophy and science draw from Nature’s wisdom. For the ancient Greeks, to embody the inherent grammar running throughout life is the ultimate goal of philosophy (the word originating from philia the Greek for ‘love’ and Sophia ‘wisdom’ – to love and embody the wisdom flowing throughout Nature).
And yet many of today’s attempted solutions apply out-dated materialistic and anthropocentric logic without stepping back to question it. If we have any hope of rectifying the error of our ways in 2015, the logic that sets us apart from Nature needs to be put right at its root. The word ‘radical’ originates from radix, the Latin for ‘root’. The paradigm shift now upon us has to deal with the root source of our flawed logic and so be radical – philosophically, scientifically, culturally and economically. Deep and complex influences within our own psyche, our collective consciousness and in the structures pervading our culture are being challenged to radically reshape; at its heart this paradigm shift challenges the very way we view the world and ourselves as embodied within it.
In recognising that we are expressions within Nature and that our own rational and intuitive consciousness is immersed within a deeper field – the ground of our being – we may begin to open our minds to reality beyond the illusion of separation. It is this radical perspective of reality that the great minds of Jung, Einstein, Da Vinci, Confucius and many others understood. As spiritual ecologist Llewellyn Vaughan-Lee explains through his profound work, we are waking up to the awareness of our relationship between our individual soul and the world soul of Nature. In his words, ‘It is only through awakening to an awareness of the sacred within creation, and its relationship to our own sacred nature, that we can begin to redeem the primal imbalance that lies at the root of our present predicament.’
It is this recognition, no less, that will we ensure our solutions are both inspired by AND in harmony with Nature – the only viable future for humanity on Earth. Humanity is collectively on the cusp of evolving this deeper awareness, and each of us has the conscious choice in the days and weeks ahead to courageously embrace our destiny as imaginal cells in this metamorphic undertaking.
You can access a podcast series on this shift in our midst here bit.ly/1Gj31TL